*** I don’t often write letters on the blog, especially more than one in a week. But, this was a big week and exceptions need to be made. There are children to celebrate! Aunt Amber thanks you for understanding.***
Just a couple of days ago, we were at our favorite diner cracking jokes with our favorite waitresses, sipping coffee, and enjoying the ordinariness of a Wednesday morning together. Of course, this week it wasn’t ordinary because it was your due date and when you asked me to pray before we ate, I stuttered and stammered my way through asking God to bless the day. I wanted to say something profound and meaningful and chock full of things we’d remember later. Instead, I think I said, “We’re thankful for today. We lift Jesse and Baby up to You, and we pray for their safety and for only good things. Uh…thanks for this food. Amen.”
I’m convinced that in highly-pressured, emotionally-charged moments, I am exactly the last person who should be asked to pray out loud. For all my love of words, I can’t seem to come up with them when I want to say something important to God. I’m not above admitting that in my prayer life, publicly or privately, I rely on the intercession of the Holy Spirit a whole heck of a lot.
So, consider this a do-over prayer – the things I wish I had said to you and to God over eggs and toast a couple of days ago. Consider it a slowed-down, fuller explanation of the “only good things” I hoped for you then…and now for James, who is here with us and sure to catch on quickly that I’m not the cool aunt I pretend to be. No, I am the aunt who sometimes stutters and often babbles and usually doesn’t know what she really means until she’s taken some time to write it down.
God, I pray that he loves me for that.
Today is momentous. You’ve delivered James in Your time, just as we knew You would, even though we sometimes worried and had to text each other Bible verses about waiting and trusting and having no fear. I feel like I should maybe apologize for that, but I think that’s the lapsing Baptist in me – the guilt that goes with being a person of little faith sometimes. I think You know that texting those Bible verses to each other was very much a very real act of faith, and that we believed the things the Word told us about peace coming from You, and that we were really grateful that those texts meant we were friends carrying for each other. Now, we are friends who get to celebrate together too. Thanks for that. We know that was You, making something good.
Because we know that good is Your thing. And Lord, today is so good.
James is here, and he is beautiful. He has this crazy full-head of hair just like Noah did, but he is already so his own person. I love that, and I love him, and I love You for making him and letting us be his people. What a gift! What a good gift!
I pray that we take really good care of it – of him. I know that You have him engraved in the palm of Your hand, just like you engraved Isaiah, just like You’ve engraved all of us. And I know in Your great wisdom that I so don’t understand, You trust us with James, but we’re human and prone to making messes in even the best of situations, so we’re going to need Your help. So, I’m asking for all of us – Don’t let any of us wander too far from the fold of Your friendship. Teach us to be kind. Equip us to be patient. Help us to be gracious. And show us how to lead with love.
We pray that James is a guy who has these qualities too – that he’s kind and patient, gracious and loving. We pray that he is a good friend, and that he makes good friends too. We pray that he is smart and discerning, that he is thoughtful and wise. We pray that he is comfortable in the skin You gave him, and that he learns early to rest his identity in You. We pray that his passions drive him into a deeper relationship with You and into relationships with people who will make him better. We pray that he has a soft way of moving in the world, that he is gentle with himself and gentle with others. We pray that he experiences darkness only to see the light of You there. We pray that he walks through the world wide awake. But maybe above all, we pray that he knows that he is tremendously loved in every step.
Because we know we are, Father, and we want James to know it too. Because it’s everything.
You are everything.
I figure it’s probably okay that didn’t come pouring out of me at the restaurant a couple of days ago. Now, I can see his face in my mind or feel the weight of him in my arms when I pray these things. I can pray from a different heart now than I did a couple of days ago, because my heart holds him now too, right alongside Noah and Abby and the rest of the family. For the rest of my life, I will always be grateful that you made me an aunt.
Even as I was writing this, Noah climbed up into my lap for a little while. He was happy to watch the cursor make letters across the page until he wanted my full attention. “Squeeze me!” he demanded, and for as long as he will do it, I will let him boss me around on this one. It’s what he says when he wants me to hug him until I almost take the breath out of him, what he says when he wants to turn around and hug me around the neck until he almost takes the breath out of me. I’m pretty sure I will take this to my grave as one of my favorite memories.
I’m excited about the games like this that will develop with James. It will be our own thing, of course, but whatever he demands that means snuggles and giggles, I will let him be the boss of me.
For your kids, I will happily bend my will – because they are their own unique persons…and because they are yours.
Thank you for being my people. Thank you for being my family.
I love you all.